Golf Australia boss Stephen Pitt backs Woods in Australian Open

Pitt: ‘Woods still intensely popular’
© PA Photos
Stephen Pitt boasts "best field ever" for this year's Australian Open.

Golf Australia boss Stephen Pitt has admitted that Tiger Woods is still a force to be reckoned with despite dropping down the world rankings.

The American professional last week announced that he would play in the Australian Open in Sydney, where he will be joined by fellow countrymen Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson.

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy will be in attendance while additional pros are expected to sign on in the coming weeks.

"It's the best field we've ever assembled," Sky Sports quotes Pitt as saying. "There's some more internationals [coming], I won't speculate but there will be some top-20 players and some real drawcards within that too."

Revelations about Woods's private life caused mixed reaction from fans, but Pitt is confident that the 35-year-old will draw in the crowds in Sydney.

"I just think he's demonstrated that he's intensely popular and a massive drawcard in terms of golf, and we've seen that not just in Australia but around the world," he added.

"I mean, at the US Masters this year, the roars reverberating around that course as he made a charge on the front nine - I haven't heard those sorts of roars before.

"It just demonstrates that there's still a real hunger to see him play and to see him succeed, and I think the people of Sydney will really enjoy that opportunity.

"I think it's just an intriguing time in his career. Everyone's waiting to see how he plays and what he does and whether it's the Tiger of old or whether we're looking at someone who's not quite where he was in the past and is mortal."

The competition tees off on November 10 at The Lakes in Sydney.

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